Tootsietoy history
This website is:

A History of Pre-War Automotive Tootsietoys

by Clint Seeley
edited by Robert Newson

also including details of pre-war Tootsietoy Aircraft

Catalogues wanted!
Do you have any pre-war Tootsietoy catalogues, particularly for the years 1934 to 1941, which could be scanned and included on this website?  Please e-mail me if you can help.

Special thanks to Lloyd Ralston Gallery Auctions who have freely allowed me to use their photographs of Tootsietoys from recent sales, including the Gates Willard and Irving Davis collections.

This article originally appeared in nine parts in Model Cars magazine (in England) from January to September 1971 (it was subsequently reprinted in Antique Toy World in the USA in 1972).  It remains, in my opinion, the most authoritative and scholarly history of pre-war Tootsietoys, and surpasses the later books which have appeared on the subject.  The original magazines are now very hard to find, and many collectors are unaware of this important work on the leading American brand of miniature toy cars.  I am happy to be able to bring the article to a new generation of collectors through the internet.   I have made a few editorial additions which are shown in blue.

The author, Dr.Clinton B.Seeley, wrote under the pseudonym C.B.C.Lee (see his biography).  Clint Seeley died in March 1984, and the article is reproduced with the permission of his widow Gail Seeley.  Thanks to her I have also been able to include many of Clint's original photographs and source material such as catalogue pages.  Where possible I have replaced the old photos with digital colour photos of models in several collections or taken from internet auctions.  In the case of auction photos, I have no record of the photographers, so if you see your photo here please take this as an acknowledgement and thanks.  If you would like to contribute photographs of items or variations which are not shown, please e-mail me.

The article is divided into parts as originally published.

Recent updates
(most recent at the top)

  • Part 5 - Added a new photo and information about the Graham Army Ambulance.
  • Aircraft - Added a scan of the auction catalogue for the Tri-motor prototype.
  • Part 4 - Added a 1929 catalogue page from the Western Novelty Co.
  • Part 4 - New photos of sets, Funnies and the Army Tractor.
  • Part 3 - New photos of the Fire Deptartment Set and a green Model A Ford coupe.
  • Part 2 - New photo of the "Adam Meldrum & Anderson" Federal Van.
  • Part 5 - New photos of the Mack Contractor Set.
  • Part 4 - New photo of the Ward's Windosil Set.
  • Part 3 - New photo of the tractor without towing eye.
  • Part 6 - New photos of the Greyhound Bus and the 1935 Ford Coupe Convertible.
  • Aircraft - Added photos of the Long Range Bomber version of the DC-4.
  • Part 2 - Added all the pages of the 1925 catalogue.
  • Part 2 - Photos of a new discovery - the "US Mail" Federal Van with rubber tyres.
  • Part 2 - New photos of the early Yellow Cab and Touring Car.  Minor changes to the tables (Parts 8 & 9).
  • Aircraft - Added new photos of the French Bleriot by S.R. and copies.
  • Aircraft - Added information about the movie 'Wings' after which the Tootsietoy biplane was named.
  • Part 2 - New photos of other manufacturers' copies of the Tootsietoy no.4636 Coupe.
  • Part 6 - New photos of the LaSalle dealer promotional set.
  • Added an external links section (below).
  • Part 4 - Added discussion of the 1934 and 1936 patents, with photos of competitors' models.  Converted patents to pdf format.
  • Part 1 - Added a photo of Ted Dowst and information about his daughter Tootsie.